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The Badge of a Mason - APRON CHARGES

The Master Mason - March 1925

Among the gems to be found in "The Treasury of Masonic Thought," a book edited by two Brethren of Dundee Lodge, Scotland, the earnings of which are to be added to the funds of the Lodge for the erection of a new Temple, we find a series of four Apron Charges - two for the second degree. In Scottish Lodges, it seems, the Apron is presented in each of the degrees, and these charges are given accordingly, choice being made between the two provided for the second degree. We reproduce them, in order to spread news of the book, and also as a matter of interest to American Masons, whose customs are different. 

Apron Charge 1ST Degree 

As given in Lodge "Dundee St. Mary," No. 1149, S.C. 

BROTHER ______ In the name of the Great Architect of the Universe, and by command of the Right Worshipful Master, I present and will invest you with the distinguishing badge of a Mason. it is more ancient than the Golden Fleece or Roman Eagle, more honourable than the Order of the Thistle, or any other order in existence, it being the badge of Innocence and the bond of Friendship, and I would exhort you ever to wear and consider it as such. It may be that in the coming years upon your brow may rest the laurel leaves of victory, upon your breast may hang jewels fit to grace the diadem of an Eastern potentate; nay, more than these, with light added to the coming light your ambitious feet may tread round after round of the ladder that leads to fame in our mystic circles, and even the purple of our fraternity may rest upon your honoured shoulders. But never again from mortal hands, never again until your enfranchised spirit shall have passed upwards and inwards through the pearly gates, shall any honour so distinguished, so emblematical of purity and innocence and all perfection be bestowed upon you. It is yours to wear throughout an honoured life, and at your death to be placed upon the coffin which shall contain your earthly remains, and with them laid beneath the silent clods of the valley. May its pure and spotless surface be an ever-present reminder of a purity of life and rectitude of conduct, a never-ending argument for nobler deeds, higher thoughts, and greater achievements, and when at last your weary feet shall have reached the end of life's toilsome journey, and from your nerveless grasp shall drop for ever the working tools of life, may the record of your life and actions be as pure and spotless as this fair emblem with which I am about to invest you. And at last when your trembling soul shall stand naked and alone before the Great White Throne, may it be your portion to bear from Him who sitteth as judge Supreme the welcome words, "Well done, good and faithful servant, enter thou into the joy of thy Lord." You will observe that this badge is made of lambskin, and as the lamb has been in all ages the acknowledged emblem of innocence and purity, it will remind you of that purity of life and action which should at all times characterise Freemasons. I trust you will live many years to wear this badge (invests candidate) with credit to yourself, usefulness to mankind, and an honour to the Lodge of which this night you have become a member; and I would further exhort you never to disgrace that badge, for you can rest assured it never disgrace you."So Mote It Be. 


As given in Lodge "Dundee St. Mary," No. 1149, S.C. 

IN THE NAME of the G.G.O.T.U., and by command of the R.W.M. I now invest you with the distinguishing badge of a F.O.T.C. This badge is bestowed in recognition of the progress you have made in the Science, and it is but right that for each degree there should be a distinctive badge, for you have now completed your apprenticeship, and have passed from being a HAND to an intelligent HEAD AND HAND - having learnt the ART of building, you now turn to the study of the SCIENCE of building and design. 

The process of life, the perennial stability of the Universe, and the manifold activities of Nature, are all governed by fundamental principles. We, in our human ignorance, are but vaguely aware of the driving force, the omnipotent factor which correlates seemingly opposing phenomena, which unites divergent interests into a common path in the furtherance of the Divine will. 

You and I, my brother, are but atoms in the Universe, links in the unbroken chain of mankind. Each has his part to play, not only in the acquisition of his own personal supreme good, but in the carrying out of the Divine plan. 

Freemasonry teaches you the means whereby you may try to emulate in your own sphere the Guiding Force of the Universe by bringing to your notice the Seven Liberal Arts and Sciences, and I would solemnIy and earnestly entreat you to give them your most careful study. For he who call claim even a superficial knowledge of these call well claim to be an educated man, and is thus on the high road to the acquisition of that genuine culture which is only attained by the building up of character through knowledge. 

In ascending the second rung of the ladder of Freemasonry, you have made noble progress, for, carrying with you the fruits and lessons of your previous step - that of the labourer - you are now, elevated to the degree of the thinker, and the task to which you are to devote yourself is so to develop and render lustrous your intellectual faculties, as to reflect in the small universe of your own individuality such a pleasing perfection of order and harmony as prevails throughout the immense Universe which is ordered by the G. G. 

So is the corner of your apron turned up that it may not impede you in the pursuit of that end which I have outlined. And when at last you reach the goal, having accomplished your task, and stand before the Ancient S.W. in that Grand Lodge above, may you be able to place within the folds of your apron your just reward - the rich and lasting treasures of Masonic industry and zeal. 

So Mote It Be. 


As given in Lodge "Dundee St. Mary," No. 1149, S.C. 

BROTHER _____, In the name of the Grand Geometrician of the Universe, and by command of the R.W.M., I will invest you with the distinguishing badge of a F.O.T.C. Mason. This badge is bestowed in recognition of the progress you have made in the Science, but you are not to suppose that your progress is now at all end. There still remains much that you must do and learn. 

"Let no man think that suddenly in a minute 

All is accomplished and the work is done;  

Though with thine earliest dawn thou should'st begin it, 

Scarce were it elided with thy setting sun." 

The manner in which the F.O.T.C. wears his apron is in itself a suggestion of further work and progress. The corner is turned tip in order that the apron may not impede your movements as you strive after the privileges which may still be won. 

The virtues which you should cultivate and exercise with a view to further progress are the intellectual virtues. These you call best employ by making the "Liberal Arts and Sciences," your constant and careful study. From time immemorial the Seven Liberal Arts have been viewed as a means whereby man is assisted to win the mastery over self and circumstance, and to secure the glorious heritage of wisdom and virtue. One of the wise men of the twelfth century wrote a beautiful allegory to show how the soul may be carried to the very gate of heaven with the help of the Seven Liberal Arts. The Arts - so runs the allegory - fashioned a chariot. Grammar formed the pole which goes before the axle-tree, Logic made the axle-tree, and Rhetoric adorned the pole with gems and the axle-tree with flowers. Then Arithmetic constructed one wheel, Music the second, Geometry the third, and the fourth wheel was made by Astronomy. To this chariot there were yoked the five Senses - Sight, Hearing, Smell, Taste, and Touch. Reason mounted with Prudence as a companion and soared off amid the plaudits of all the other gifts and graces. 

They flew, past the citadel of the sun, through the regions where Venus and Mercury sing together, and where Lucifer proclaims, with a shout, the advent of the dawn. Onward they went, past the Palace of Mars seething with fire and wrath, onward to the glad light and unhurtful flames of Jupiter, onward to Saturn's bright sphere. They ascended the stellar region where the pole-stars contend in brightness, and where they beheld Hercules and Orion, Leda's twins, the Fiery Crab, the Lion, and all the rest of the Zodiac's constellations. Here at length the chariot halted. It could ascend higher, but it had halted at the gleaming gates of the Celestial Realm. Thus far had Reason and Prudence been borne by the Seven Liberal Arts - to Heaven's gate. 

It is with like purpose that you, as a F.O.T.C. are urged to cultivate those Liberal Arts in Masonic symbolism as in the allegory of which I have told you. They are represented as a means of raising men to the altitudes of knowledge. The allegory depicted them as a chariot, but we depict them as a stairway which the eager F.O.T.C. ascends, to reach the Middle Chamber of King Solomon's Temple, there to receive the reward. 

The ancient arithmeticians taught that seven was a perfect number, the symbol of completeness; thus the Seven Liberal Arts represent the whole compendium of human knowledge, and in recommending them to your attention we are urging you to acquire all the knowledge you can, for we believe that by so doing you will discover that the vast universe is planned by the Grand Geometrician upon the principles of Order, Symmetry, and Rectitude; and when you realise that these sublime principles dominate the whole universe, and are perfectly expressed alike in the orbits of the whirling masses and in the movements of the tiny atoms, you will desire that the small universe of your own life should reflect the order and harmony of the immense universe within which you are placed; so seeking and striving you will not be disappointed. As the apron you now wear suggests that you are expected to advance without "let or hindrance," it also suggests that you will receive at the end the due reward of your labour, and into the fold of your apron there will be poured the rich and lasting treasures of Masonic industry and zeal.  

So Mote It Be. 


As given in Lodge "Dundee St. Mary," No. 1149, S.C. 

THE NAME, of the M.H. and by command of the R.W.M., I now invest you with the badge of a M.O.T.C. While this badge no doubt indicates that you have attained to the Sublime Degree, it also remind you of the duties devolving upon you. Remember true dignity and honour are best maintained by a faithful study of our art, by an earnest endeavour to do your part in the great work of Masonry, and by ever remembering the complete five points of fellowship, those grand connecting links of love and duty which unite Masons one to another throughout the Globe. 

Masonry regards the man, not the garb he wears, the house he lives in, or the luxuries with which he surrounds himself. The great Fraternity therefore ordains that all its votaries shall be clothed alike - with an apron. For each Mason an Apron - for each Apron a meaning. The colour of the apron is white, the perfection of all colour is white, and white and spotless, shining like crystal in the noon-day sun must be the hearts and lives of all who wear it. 

But, Brethren, each of you wear two aprons, - one is visible, one invisible. One is our symbolic gift to you, the first gift of Masonry, coming from the lamb, decay-doomed, as all things material are. The other the gift of the Omnipotent, spiritual, undecaying, eternal. Man seeth one, God seeth both. The one which we have given you will, when your life's work is o'er, be worn and stained, tarnished, discoloured, and torn, and honour shall be measured unto you in accordance with the unselfish work which you have given in so soiling it. But look to it, as you value life, - and life again, that you keep the unseen (seen only by the M.H.) pure and spotless. For the day shall come when the apron which we have given you, having found its last rest with your earthly remains 'neath the silent clods of the valley, shall be seen no more; but when the unseen garment, with which One greater than I this day invests you, shall be seen by all men, living and dead alike, to your glory or your shame, my Brethren, even as you have worn it. 

Strive, therefore, to penetrate the veil which enshrouds the true secrets of our Order, realise the beauteous perfection of its tenets, and realising them you will not fall in your endeavours to live the life of a true Mason. 

So Mote It Be.

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